Friday, 30 March 2012

The early miles

My good friend Geoff Briggs took this picture of me climbing Ringing Rodger. Its in the first part of the race. The first climb is nearly done and your getting into it. Ive past that point where I think "God Im never gonna finish this". Its time to think about strategy, where I am, who's about, eating something, the next checkpoint, etc , etc , etc.
The early miles of a race never get any easier but are so rewarding when you look back on how you have done.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Right Ive been asked at least twenty times on how I ran the Skyline race without any bottles.
I simply stashed three lots of water in bags.
The hassle of carrying water in bottles to me doesnt work. Okay if its a race whereby you cannot get water en route then fair enough.
The ziplock bags are the ones you need.
Just put some water in these bags and seal them and hide them.
Stick your gels etc in with the water and your sorted.
The bonus is once you have either drank the water or tipped it over you. ( Yes I left one nearly full and after drinking the lesser full bag I tipped it over me), you simply shove the empty bags in your bumbag. Unlike empty bottles which are bulky and clumsy to carry to the finish.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Edale Skyline Fell Race

It was very hot on Sunday for this years Edale Skyline Race. Its a tough one as its one of the first long races of the year and you really don't quite know how you are going until you reach Mam Nick.
I had trained hard for this one. I normally pick half a dozen races a year that I really go full at and this was to be one of them.
I set off fast and just carried it through. I didn't really start to feel tired until after Grindslow Knoll. The course was petty dry which meant you could attack it.
I didn't stop once a ran the whole lot pretty even paced. Some good support en route which helped and as I descended into the field I was pretty pleased with the run.
A check on the results saw me take the first Vet40 position and 6th overall.
Probably one of the most satisfying races Ive ever done.
Dark Peak usually come up with some strange prizes and I was presented with a wooden Male Champion board. (Apparently used in an agricultural show many years ago).
Judith Jepson won the Female Vet 40 one.
Carl Bell won the race in 2hrs 41 mins. I managed 2hrs 50mins.

Topping out on Mam Tor ( Picture by Mark Fermer )

Badger doesnt seem to impressed with my prize around his neck.
My kit is still on the patio.
Great organisation by Ian Fitz and his team.
At least this week I knew which way to go

Monday, 19 March 2012

Lads Leap English Championships

Its funny how a race can bring you back down to earth. Now I have gone past the 40 mark I am going to do the English Championship races.
Lads leap on Saturday was the first one. A short race with a bit of everything thrown in. Last year I was 3rd at this race in 49mins 30secs. This time would be very different. The course was slightly altered to suit the large field of runners and I think it made it slightly longer in distance. Not much though.
The field of runners at one of these races is unlike other races though. You have most of the real class guys in the country attending. Top fellrunners like Lloyd Taggart, Simon Bailey, Morgan Donnelly, Rob Hope etc etc etc. The list goes on.
The times are closer together as there are more runners and seconds make huge differences. Its flat out from the start with no respite. I went off okay and climbed pretty well. I wasn't to far behind Mike Fanning and Gavin Bland but as I topped out to head over the boggy section I got slightly held up a little bit and then took a fall. I could see Mick Stenton of Dark Peak Fellrunners just in front of me which spurred me on though. The middle descent came and I could let go a bit but to catch the group in front going up through the quarry would be ultra hard. It was and although I passed a couple of runners I just could not push that little bit extra. The final descent was fine and all too soon the finish came.
I was 44th and 11th Vet40.
Simon Bailey won the race in about 44mins I think which is just at a level that 99 per cent of fellrunners cannot comprehend.
Pennine had a great turnout and we had some good performances.
The next race is the Coledale Horseshoe.
The race also takes in the Derbyshire Championships. I came 2nd with Lloyd taking the win.
Brilliant organisation from Des Gibbons and his team.

looking a bit jaded after the fall.
Picture courtesy of Bryan Mills. The Tipton flyer

Sunday, 11 March 2012


Well I was jumping up and down as he finished the final day of the race to the sun and time trialled to an amazing win in Nice.
Bradley Wiggins. A great performance.
His teammates did an amazing job all week and Team Sky are really becoming a force to be reckoned with.
What next.
Cant wait

Stan Bradshaw Fell Race

This should have been a fairly straightforward race. But then fellracing has taught me to expect the unexpected.
The race is run in memory of the great Stan Bradshaw. One of the true greats of our sport. I did the full Tour of Pendle a while back so this one which is about half the distance would be easier.
Trouble was the clag was down and I don't know Pendle Hill that well. The start was okay but I just failed to keep with the front five runners and as I reached checkpoint one I was truly on my own. Very very quickly I lost the race route and after briefly looking at the map realised I had strayed way off course. After a good five mins myself and a couple of other runners stumbled upon some local Clayton Le Moor runners and we stayed with them for a bit before going in front again. I lost loads of time but enjoyed the race route.
That's Fellracing though.
You cannot recce them all but it sure helps.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Honest it really doesn't

Hurt one bit
Usually, actually nearly every race I finish I get a little scratch or two like those in the picture. Search enough and you will find far worse. My BG partner ripped his knee open after falling on his bike a while back. Ive seen broken legs, broken this and broken that. My good friend Steve Taylor ( Amex ) to those in the trade had an horrendous accident. It can be dangerous but the reward outweighs the knocks we fellrunners get.
A friend asked me last week truly if it does hurt.
I dont really think about it.
Everyone falls at some point. But in fellrunning if its a bad one we always stop and help.
Cuts, breaks, scratches, bruises.
Dont become a fellrunner if you dont want any of these over time.
Be safe and good running

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

sticks and stones , and maybe pebbles

Well the last couple of Fell Races after Winter Hill went well but winter training continues. We are pushing through into less darker nights and it feels like the drudge of training night after night is starting to come to an end. For me and many fellrunners its time to add a bit of structure to our training. Hill Reps sharpen the legs and help you run up hill faster.
One problem with hill reps is you can forget how many you have done. A little trick is to just pile up some pebbles at the bottom of the hill and every rep you throw one aside.
I even know a very good runner who uses little sticks and has the dog doing reps alongside them. That must get some strange looks I bet.
So whether you pile up pebbles, sticks or even get your faithful dog to count for you.
Happy Hill repping and role on spring.